Oh. My. God.
Why haven't I been browning butter all along? Seriously. I've been missing out. I think I'm a little ashamed of myself actually. I'm going to vow to make everything with browned butter from now on. It's my new favourite thing.
If you haven't grasped what I'm so subtly hinting at here, browned butter is freaking amazing! You must try this. And fast. For the good of mankind. Drink it, I don't care. I could live off the smell alone. Do you like caramel corn? Yeah it's like that. Just like that. Then mix that with the smell of toasted hazelnuts and try not to die of sensory rapture.
For those of you unsure about how to introduce this new incredible flavour to your mouth, here's a little suggestion: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Chocolate Buttercream. Yes. That's the stuff.
Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcakes
Makes 14 cupcakes.
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake.
1 heaping cup hazelnuts, blanched (plus 1/2 cup for garnish)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup flour
6 large egg whites (5 extra large)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and then set it aside.
Spread your hazelnuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast them for about 7 – 10 minutes or until the kitchen fills with that intoxicating nutty scent.
In a medium sauce pan add the butter and vanilla then cook it on medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes until the foam subsides, the butter turns brown and you smell that delicious caramel scent. Remove it from the heat allow it to cool.
Finely grind the hazelnuts then add them to the powdered sugar and flour. She suggests to grind all three in a food processor, but since I lack one of those I improvised with a Magic Bullet and a fork to crush the chunky bits of hazelnuts that stick to the flour and powdered sugar.
Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites and granulated sugar on high for about 4 – 5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Alternate folding in the dry ingredients and the brown butter in thirds until the mixture is smooth.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before filling and frosting.
Source: Joy of Baking's Ganache Recipe.
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Note: I would suggest making the Ganache while the cupcakes are in the oven to allow it enough time to set in the refrigerator as they are cooling.
Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and whipping cream on medium heat. Bring it to just a boil and then immediately transfer the mixture to the chocolate bowl. Let it sit for five minutes then stir it with a whisk until the chocolate melts smoothly. Refrigerate it for at least half an hour to thicken until you're ready to use it.
Source: Martha Stewart's Chocolate Buttercream.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1 3/8 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Note: Make the Buttercream when you're ready to use it since refrigerating it and allowing it to warm to room temperature is a little annoying, but you could make it ahead of time if you'd prefer.
In a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk them for about 3 minutes until they're hot and the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove it from the heat and with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment beat it at high speed for about 7 – 10 minutes until it's cooled.
On medium high speed add the butter 1 – 2 tbsp at a time and mix until each is incorporated then beat in the chocolate.
Once the cupcakes are fully cooled cut a circle out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Shear off the inner cake from the cylinder you just cut out to make room for the Chocolate Ganache filling. Spoon or pipe the Ganache into each void and return the little cake hat back on top. Pipe on the Chocolate Buttercream then sprinkle the top with chopped toasted hazelnuts and enjoy!